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EPA, State and City Launch Household Hazardous Waste Pickup in New York City

Release Date: 11/23/2012
Contact Information: John Martin, 646-256-6710, martin.johnj@epa.gov

      (New York, N.Y.) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York City Department of Sanitation are collecting and properly disposing of potentially hazardous common household products from flood-damaged homes and residences in New York City. The public is encouraged to put waste products on their curbs for pickup, including: solvents, paints, cleaners, oil, propane tanks, batteries, petroleum products, weed/bug killers, car batteries, bleach and ammonia. The EPA and its contractors will drive the streets of impacted areas to pick up the household hazardous waste on the curb at each residence.

      “Household hazardous waste, such as petroleum products, old paint and pesticides can be dangerous and should be disposed of properly to protect people’s health and the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “The EPA is urging people to separate potentially hazardous products from their regular trash and place them on the curb in areas that were impacted by the flood waters from Hurricane Sandy, where they will be picked up.”

      Curbside pickup of household hazardous waste will take place in neighborhoods impacted by the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy.

      Oil-contaminated debris or material contaminated by other petroleum or chemical products should be separated and stored in a well-ventilated area. If stored outdoors, the piles should be covered to keep rain from contaminating nearby soil and water. Any chemical or oil spills, such as from home heating oil tanks, must be reported to DEC at 1-800-457-7362.

      It is also important to clean and disinfect everything touched by flood waters as quickly as possible, since they may contain bacteria or toxic chemicals from sources as varied as pesticides, heating oil and sewage.

      Porous items need to be dried right away to prevent mold. If possible, household furnishings should be cleaned or disinfected. If they cannot be cleaned, they should be discarded. Hard, non-porous surfaces should also be cleaned. For detailed advice, see the State Department of Health’s website http://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/emergency/weather/hurricane/ and http://www.epa.gov/sandy/factsheets.html.
      The New York City Department of Sanitation will be picking up white goods, such as refrigerators and other appliances, and will remove the refrigerants from refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners. Refrigerants include chlorofluorocarbons and hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are greenhouse gases. These refrigerants will be removed from appliances by the city using EPA certified recovery systems before the items are crushed or taken apart for recycling.

      The New York City’s Department of Sanitation offers updates at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/dsny/html/home/home.shtml.